Hi Bill,

It seems as though you covered most of the issues making the jump to wireless only phone service. You are spot on regarding perhaps having your sister hesitate before jumping into an iPhone as the sole device. It certanly would not be my choice to replace a landline. But I know people (mostly who live in very strong ATT service areas) who have done just that.

Addressing your comments inline:

1) With UMTS/WCDMA, you can indeed talk and surf at the same time. That's not going to be an issue with the technology ATT uses since they have many handsets that can facilitate this need. FWIW, I have Skype on both my ATT Tilt (HTC 8925) & home laptop. I've had voice calls come in while using Skype on my phone. The Skype call quality is better on my home (Comcast) broadband connection though.

2) I've yet to meet someone who was charged for data using an iPhone. Will your sister also have DSL/Cable internet or only 3G broadband that she tethers a PC to?

3) This is a non-issue. People with newer handsets do receive 911 service and locations are found quickly.

4) When my folks made the jump, the DISH salesperson tried to convince them that they needed their landline but I did a little research and realized this was false. You can get the updates in other ways. Cable does not require landlines, FWIW.

5) Yes, this may be true.

6) True regarding the POTS system having its own power supply. OTOH, cell sites normally have commercial power backup systems that are secure, unless you build them too low to the ground like the did in New Orleans after the hurricanes and subsequent flooding ;(. She's in Hotlanta, so I bet it's a little better supported, infrastructure wise.

You are correct regarding the simplicity of grabbing a backup phone. I always tell folks with a primary PDA or smartphone to also pick one up right away so they don't have such a hassle to deal with later on. It's also helpful to have an extra SIM card if you use a GSM carrier so you don't have to go through so many hoops later on should one drop in the toilet or lake ;). They're inexpensive and make it easy to activate by calling ATT CS. You can also go one step further and backup all contacts from the SIM to a PC and update/sync later on w/ software depending on which phone/OS you are using. Plenty of options to make the whole experience much more smooth.

-Pedro